Relationship and Existence



Before objects in our world, including us, can be united, they must somehow be separate. We live in a universe where objects, including ourselves, seem to be separate. In only such a world is relationship important.

At the bottom of a page in a materials science text, I’d used as an engineering instructor, there were words in fine print, a kind of disclaimer.

My class had been studying physical chemistry, about atoms, how they came together, related to one another. The disclaimer stated that all of the electron shells and valances only occurred because of an atom’s relationship to some other atom or subatomic particle. We could say nothing about an atom in isolation. An atom only exists in its descriptive form when it’s in relationship with something else, as illustrated by the Periodic Table of Elements.

This may seem like a strange idea. When we observe people, we think we are being objective when we describe their facial features–two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. In fact, just like the tree that falls in the woods, or the atoms, to exist, we humans must be in relationship with someone or something else. And all of us, the atom, the tree, and the human being will take on a different appearance, depending on who or what else is in relationship with it.

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